Trailblazers

Fill That Opening

Mon, 05/14/2012 - 3:20pm
Carlos Molina
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Last seen: 8 years 23 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-08-13

The poll question on the oregonsports.com front page last week asked, “Will the Blazers have a new coach by the June 28 NBA Draft?”  In short, the answer is "no," because they may not even have a General Manager by then. 

Rumors have increased their swirls in recent weeks as candidates’ names continue to pop up.  Since Rich Cho got fired late last May, Chad Buchanan has been the acting GM, but he’s never exactly gotten a vote of confidence in public from the organization.  A month ago, Chris Mullin rumors swirled when he called back to back Blazers games for ESPN.  Steve Kerr’s name seems to come up weekly, but people seem to be ignoring the fact that Kerr is very happy with his TV gig, and loves having the freedom to be a family man, which was something he didn’t have the opportunity to appreciate during his stint in the Phoenix front office.  Atlanta’s Rick Sund’s name floated out there a few months ago, and nothing came to pass. 

Then there’s Mitch Kupchak from the Lakers and Geoff Petrie from the Kings.  Kupchak seems unlikely, but apparently his relationship with the Buss family has frayed in recent years.  Geoff Petrie has history in Portland, and a rough situation in Sacramento, where the team doesn’t know where it’s going to play in two years now that the arena deal fell through.  He used to work for the Blazers organization, and it seems Paul Allen wants to go in a new direction, so his name doesn’t carry much weight in the rumor mill.

This past week, the search has heated up, with Paul Allen conducting an interview with an unnamed candidate last Monday.  Portland announced this was in fact the third candidate they interviewed, after Steve Kerr and agent/former assistant GM Noah Croom.  They have also received permission to talk to David Morway, the Pacers GM that has successfully built the team with the fifth best record in the league from bits and pieces he picked up in the late lottery/mid first round.  Sure, Larry Bird is the architect, but that’s some pretty good on the job training Morway has received.

Morway is the best candidate name that’s come up, with his track record of rebuilding a team that was in shambles after the Malice at the Palace by drafting in similar spots to where the Blazers will be drafting for a while.  With the Pacers’ playoff run still going, don’t expect to get an answer from him, or many of the other candidates they’re considering.  There won’t be an answer before the draft lottery at the end of May, when the Blazers will know if they have one lotto pick or two, which could sweeten the deal for any prospective employee.  In the end, if Paul Allen and company are going to handcuff the GM and make the draft decisions anyway, why bother hiring one before the draft?  Seems like the position could be open for at least a bit longer.


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Nothing's Broken, But It's Sore and Needs Fixing

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 6:08pm
Carlos Molina
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Last seen: 8 years 23 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-08-13

Left quad tendonitis, right knee tendonitis, right hip surgery, dislocated right shoulder, bronchitis, and family reasons.  No, this is not the injured list from your grandpa’s Boca Raton Bocce Ball team.  This is in fact the current state of the Tralblazers for the final two games of what can really only be referred to as a dreadful season.  These afflictions correspond to Nicolas Batum, Jamal Crawford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Elliot Williams, The Vanilla Gorilla, and Raymond Felton, respectively.  Not to mention, of course, the careers of Greg Oden and Brandon Roy. 

With a team shutting down people like that at this time of the year, you would not be wrong to be suspicious of a tanking franchise, but the Blazers are already locked into the 11th worst record, so tanking is pointless.  They can’t get any better.  Or worse, depending on how you look at it.  That sums up their season perfectly.  At the beginning of the year, they weren’t built to win the championship, and it didn’t look like they would be much worse than 10th in the West.  As we discuss on Sportsland all the time, stuck in the middle is the worst place to be.  Now, at the end of the year, they are trying to blow it and rebuild, and can’t even tank properly.  The 11th pick in a debatably deep draft is still the 11th pick, not exactly a place to find gems. 

With Raymond Felton starting through the injury, Portland opened the game with Matthews, Hickson, Babbit, and Thabeet.  On the one year anniversary of Brandon Roy’s 18 point 4th quarter against the Mavs in the first round, the brightest spot of the past 366 days is now over a year behind Rip City.  It’s time to look to the future, and build around Aldridge’s All-Star ability.  Tonight on Sportsland, we’ll discuss who’s audition for the future looked best.  It’s all Blazers fans have to look forward.  That, and the Brooklyn Nets’ pick. 

And The Year Goes On

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 7:19pm
Carlos Molina
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Last seen: 8 years 23 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-08-13

It’s a weird time of the sports year in Portland.  The Blazers have five games left and nothing really to play for, so much so it looks like they’re shutting down some key guys.  The Beavers and Ducks just opened up spring practice, but there’s nothing really to follow there.  Sure the diehards want to see how some of the new signees that manage to get there early do, or who’s going to fill in at any positions vacated by guys leaving for the draft or graduating.  In reality, there are no scores, and there’s no news to really follow, and so much can and will change between now and when the season opens that people really only follow it to have something to follow. 

College baseball is underway, and the WHL playoffs are underway, but the fanbases for these are much more limited.  And then of course there are the Timbers, but they don’t have the built in excitement of an inaugural season to carry the interest of the casual fan.  Couple that with their struggles this year, and even the excitement of early season soccer and the Army’s antics aren’t enough to maintain interest or make it enjoyable to be a Portland sports fan.

But never fear, the Sportsland, Oregon crew can find sports stories from across the country to make things interesting.  From the NBA playoff picture developing, to the NHL playoffs providing their usual excitement and even more fights than ever, there’s plenty to follow in the world of sports.  And of course, don’t forget early season baseball.  All that and more on this week’s episode of Sportsland, Oregon.

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